Over 500 brethren, companions and their ladies from across the Province joined Peter Pemberton Provincial Senior Grand Warden and Martyn Lockyer Provincial Junior Grand Warden for the 155 Grand Masonic Festival and Ball, which is the highlight of the Provincial social calendar and was held for the fifth year at the Premier Suite, in the recently renamed Macron Stadium in Horwich.
The evening started with a formal reception for all installed masters and first principals where there was an opportunity to meet the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison who is the President of the Ball and was attending the Ball for the first time since his investiture as PrGM. The Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones and the Deputy Grand Superintendent Danny Jones were also in attendance for the masters and first principals to talk to. Delta five played music during the reception.
Other guests assembled in an adjoining room where they had the opportunity to talk to the Assistant Provincial Grand Masters and the Assistants to the Provincial Grand Principals before joining the Provincial Grand Master in the Ball room.
After the reception Tony and his wife Maureen led the Provincial party into the Ball room, where they took their seats for a sumptuous four course diner. The diner started with hot smoked salmon savoury cheesecake, with pickled quail eggs and cucumber ribbons. The main course was roast goosnargh chicken roulade, bubble and squeak, chantenay carrots, savoy cabbage and wild mushroom jus. The dessert was glazed lemon tart, lime caviar, citrus sorbet and poached kumquats. Followed by cheese and biscuits with coffee and mints to finish.
After the meal Peter expressed his and Martin’s thanks along with the whole Province to the organising committee. He thanked Ray Dainton for playing piano music at dinner, he then said special thanks go to the members of the organising committee – Andrew Wiltshire (Hon secretary) and Glynn Wrenall (Hon event co-ordinator), they then presented their partner and wife with flowers thanking them for their support. Peter then thanked Mike Kinsella (Hon treasurer) for his long service to the organising committee. Mike is retiring after the Ball and Peter asked Mike and his wife Diane to come forward to receive a gift to mark his retirement, Diane was presented with a basket of flowers.
Before dancing commenced everyone joined in the Grand march led by Tony and Maureen.
The Grand march has a long history, to some it seems like chaos, to some it is fun and to most it is a tradition to be proud of.
The dance floor filled after the march as the brethren and companions danced with their wives and partners to music by the Pyramid Band.
As the evening drew to a close everyone took to the dance floor to sing Auld Lang Syne. Martin Lockyer thanked everyone for attending the Ball and concluded by saying he hoped to see them again next year.
All proceeds from the evening will be donated to The West Lancashire Freemasons’ Masons Charity.